2016 was a record-breaking year for firearm background checks in Pennsylvania, according to statistics recently released by state police.
Last year, the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) processed almost 1.14 million requests to purchase a firearm, privately transfer a firearm or obtain a carry license. This represented a 15 percent increase over 2015, itself a banner year for PICS checks, ranking below only 2013 and 2012.
However, the bump in sales isn’t the only positive trend apparent from the data. At first glance, the fact that PICS denials dropped roughly 13.4 percent from 2015 may seem worrisome. However, these failed checks led to nearly 6,500 referrals to law enforcement agencies—a 38.9 percent increase over the number of law enforcement referrals in 2015. This means that not only are sales rising in Pennsylvania, the state is also getting more serious about investigating those attempting to make illegal purchases.